“Bringing Ridge Home” with Assistant Chief Derek Alkonis, Los Angeles County Fire Department (Ret.)


The interview you’ll hear in this episode of the Leadership Under Fire Humanizing the Narrative Podcast is a bit of a departure from the conversations we typically share, but is an extraordinary story steeped in adversity and resilience. Our guest, and his family, are currently navigating an international battle with their son, a U.S. Navy Lieutenant, locked in the center of it. 

Ridge Alkonis is a thirty-four-year old surface warfare officer who has been serving time in a Japanese prison for what Japanese courts deemed to be the negligent driving deaths of two Japanese citizens, which occurred with Ridge’s wife Brittany and children in the car at the time. Ridge’s father, retired Los Angeles County Fire Chief Derek Alkonis, has been pleading with the Biden administration to help bring his son home claiming that Ridge did not receive a full medical examination after the accident, or a fair trial in Japanese court. Additionally, the Alkonis’ assert that the Status of Forces Agreement (or SOFA) between the Japanese and American governments has been breached/violated. 

Listeners of this podcast may already be familiar with Derek Alkonis… He currently serves as a Research Program Manager for UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute (or FSRI). Prior to joining FSRI, Alkonis served 31years with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, most recently as Assistant Fire Chief in charge of the Air and Wildland Fire Division. He’s been a passionate and active member of the American fire service throughout his career as well as a proud American patriot. 

During our recorded discussion we were also joined by Ridge’s naval academy classmate, Andrew Eubanks, one of Ridge’s closest friends and advocate during this ordeal.